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Want a good dog? Be a good owner

Sure, we give our pups lots of playtime, treats and affection, but what about training? Is your dog groomed as often as its breed requires? Is your pup wearing a collar with tags and permanently identified with a microchip to maximize its chances of being returned to you if it becomes lost? Whether you're a first-time or longtime dog owner, here's what should be on a responsible owner's "to-do" list:

. Ensure that you provide the proper amount of exercise and mental stimulation appropriate for your pet's age, breed and energy level.

. Take care of your dog inside and out with regular grooming, quality food and veterinarian appointments. Keep all vaccinations current.

. Identify your dog with a collar tag and tattoo or a microchip ID. If you use a microchip, make sure to enroll your dog in a pet recovery service such as AKC Companion Animal Recovery ( and keep your contact information updated.

. Socialize your pooch via exposure to new people, places and other dogs.

. Recognize the necessity of basic training by teaching a reliable "sit," "stay" and "come." Make sure your dog is regarded as a good citizen by your neighbors and the community.

. On walks, adhere to local leash laws and pick up and properly dispose of your pet's waste.

. Recognize that your dog's welfare depends on you, and never overlook your responsibilities for this living being.

Want a good dog? Be a good owner 04/30/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 30, 2012 4:30am]
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